Sunday, May 18, 2008

Race Report - Dirt Sweat & Gears May 3, 2008

Racing 12 hours in the hilly Tennessee wilderness was beautiful and tough. I did 11 laps on the 10.5 mile course being chased the whole time by Sobe Cannondale's Brandon Draugelis. I was able to hold him off and won the race but he kept me racing hard the whole time. We both finished with the same number of laps. It was definitely hard work.

I flew in Friday and met up with my grown son David Jr. who arrived late in the evening. It was raining so hard that evening and the forecast called for rain to continue into the morning and that is exactly what happened. We headed to the track too early for a good breakfast and I was tired and anxious about the track conditions. But when the rain stopped and the track dried up a little, it wasn't so bad at all and was fun to race on.

I was tired at the start of the race and I knew when I had a chance to be on the front and I was riding decent, it was my chance to get a gap. It was important to think that the others were having the same issues since the mud was clogging up everything and it was a sloppy mudfest. Chains were breaking, it was sippery, and mud was everywhere. I had my hardtail Cannondale Taurine which I knew would be better in those conditions so it worked out good for me. But, I was nervous since I only had one bike and I had to stop at the pit to de-mud every chance I had. The conditions got better as the race went on and it got easier to keep the Taurine clean and running good.

There was a time when I had a decent gap on Brandon, Josh Tostado and Nat Ross. Josh and Nat beat me last year and I knew if I could get a gap and race consistently, I might have a chance for redemption. Everyone had mechanicals but I got so lucky. Last year I got 2 flats on the first lap. This year I didn't have any mechanicals and the advantage. I didn't feel great but kept consistent. I heard Brandon had made a mistake and the promoter had him correct it so some of the time he had made up, evened us out. I saw where the mistake was and it was understandable and admirable the promoters had him correct it insead of a DQ.

I ended up putting on my Niterider lights a little early and got two good night laps in. The extra weight was not an issue with these lights since they are so light so I did not mind racing 2 laps without needing to have them on. They are the best lightweight batteries and brightest lights I've ever used.

Steve from Dalton Bicycle Works in GA was there again with me this year and did so awesome. He was on top of everything and gave me good updates between laps. Also, he worked on my bike and kept it perfect. Just wanted to THANK YOU Steve for all your awesome help.

Well, the time went by too fast and I didn't get much opportunity to hang out with David Jr. He helped me out and it was great to see him cheering me on from the sideline and hearing him call me dad. I am so proud of him and look forward to his visit to CA soon. We plan to do some riding together.

Just want to thank DS&G once again for one of the most fun races of the season and an awsome venue. This is one of my favorites and I am already looking forward to returning next year to defend my title!




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